New Cooper Sofa

Australian Made Sofa range 2018

I just love the new Cooper sofa we have added to our range this year.

Its a stunning compliment to the beautiful timber furniture I’ve specialised in for the past 25 years. The Cooper is locally made by a family business with over 40 years experience in quality lounge furniture.  Its internal frame has a lifetime warranty and is constructed of Australian hardwood. The cushions are all high spec for sumptuous comfort. The seats are feather wrapped Enduro foam with down. The back cushions are 70% feather and 30% down.

The sofa is prepared from start to finish by a single skilled craftsman.

The fabric is hand tailored to the sofa just like a bespoke suit. This ensures the fabric sits beautifully on the frame. We have a large range of fabric from all the main fabric houses including Warwick, Zapelle, Charles Parsons and Wortley Fabrics.

Come in and Compare the Cooper Sofa.


Blackwood tables

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Balckwood tables

Historic Blackwood Table

This week we had a unique project to complete which was to re furbish an 80 year old Blackwood table.

The table is full of history as it used to reside within the Collingwood town hall. The timbers run across the table top which is unusual and the thickness of the top is 45mm thick.

The blackwood table has some gorgeous grains and textures.

The top of the table has been fully refinished and re assembled as there were gaps in the boards and lots of marks scratches and dents.

The top is now beautiful and new again and good for another 100 odd years.

Would love to have this one in my own home.

Mark Mortelliti



Mitchell River Furniture

Mitchell River Furniture TV

The Mitchell River furniture collection was a nice range made of messmate or as some say stringy-bark timbers. The timber was exported out of Australia and the furniture was produced in China and shipped back to Australia.

The range came in two main colours light as pictured and a darker finish also.

Messmate is a great timber which makes for great looking furniture. Its unique timber grains and whirls and gum vein patterns create a distinct character.

My Australian made suppliers use messmate regularly and we can custom make items to link in with your existing Michell river furniture.

If you love timber character and grain then you will love Messmate and should consider it for you next furniture investment for your home.

Mark Mortelliti




Messmate Vs Ash timber

Which…Wood….you choose?

Mark Mortelliti is Proprietor of Lifestyle Furniture Melbourne and President of the Furnishers Society of Victoria has been selling timber furniture for 20 years.

The beauty of timber furniture is always in the eye of the beholder. We are unique individuals and as such different timbers will “speak” to people differently. I watch every week as those frequenting my showroom reach out their hand and run it along the length of the timbers in our showroom tables as if reaching out to nature.

That raises the question of which timber will I have my furniture crafted from?

Two timbers which are related to each other and yet very different to each other are, Messmate and Victorian Ash. Both these timbers are terrific for furniture making and have similar density and strength characteristics.

Messmate Timber

Messmate (Eucalyptus obliqua),

Messmate timber furniture contains strong grain patterns and character. The timber features magnificent whirled grains patterns, gum veins, pin holes, squiggly worm trails and natural stains from fire, wind and flood.

You will be drawn to the natural feel and beauty of this Australian Hardwood. Messmate timber is brown to light-brown.  Also called Messmate Stringy bark it grows naturally in parts of Victoria and Tasmania, and less widely in South Australia, the tablelands of NSW and southern Queensland.

Messmate timber has in recent years become a popular choice for furniture makers as the timber takes very well to a range of stain colours. The fact that the grain patters are stronger and more varied also means the timber is somewhat more forgiving when the marked  or scratched by the younger family members in day to day use. With Messmate no two pieces of furniture will ever be the same each is beautifully unique. Whereas Victorian ash is very consistent in its straight grain character.

Victorian Ash Timber

Victorian Ash (Eucalyptus regnans),Also known as Tasmanian Oak

Victorian Ash is the trade name for both Alpine and Mountain Ash. Mountain Ash, Eucalyptus regnans, has the distinction of being the world’s tallest flowering plant. Recorded before the turn of the century at exceeding 100 m tall.

Together with Silvertop Ash, Eucalyptus sieberi, Victorian Ash has become the staple hardwood of furniture makers around the world. Consistently even grain, long lengths and similar appearance of these species have also contributed to their desirability.

Because of their relatively consistent colour (ranging from a pale pink and reddy browns to a pale straw) Victorian Ash/ Tasmanian Oak lend themselves to most applications where a quieter and more contemporary feel is required. It is quarter sawn giving an extremely straight grain. It is an ideal hardwood for furniture.

Victorian ash is plantation grown in Australia and as such is an Eco Friendly choice however if the furniture has been produced overseas the 32,000km round trip should be taken into account.

Matching timber furniture to your home decor

So you’ve found a great price of furniture but are stuck on how to get it to fit style-wise into your home? Just follow these simple steps to ensure your furniture not only looks great in your home but looks like it belongs too.

First to consider is colour. With furniture you can either blend with what is in your home or go for a deliberate contrast. For example: if you have Tasmanian oak floors and choose a Tasmanian oak table the table can get lost amongst the same colour timber. To offset this you can choose upholstered back chairs in a strong colour to differentiate whilst tying it all together. On the other side if you choose a table that is very dark in contrast to the light Tasmanian oak floors that is enough contrast to make the setting look great. Simply accompany the table with timber back chairs of the same colour.

The other mention in using colours is tying your other pieces of furniture together by utilising the same colour theme for all pieces in the house. For example: If you have dark furniture in your living room, carry this on into the dining room, study and bedroom too. It will connect all your furniture and make the whole house come together in style.

The second point to consider is on using accessories. Items such as mirrors, cushions, wall art, and other similar pieces are the icing on the cake. They can enhance the room by adding colour and finishing off the room setting. Use colours that bring out the tones of the timber. For example: for a Red Gum TV Unit you can add cushions on the sofa in various hues of red to bring out the rich red colours that Red Gum timber is known for. And if the sofa is in a neutral colour like cream or light grey the red cushions will also contrast with the sofa and tie the room together.

The third point I will mention is choosing if your style will be contemporary or traditional. Modern timber furniture is typically square edged, with lots of straight lines and a uniform and symmetrical layout design. Traditional style tends to be about details like tapered or turned legs, detailed edges like shark nose or bull nose, sometimes involves wrought iron and sometimes with carved details. The current trends are all about modern styles with bright vibrant colours. My suggestion however is choose a style that A) suits your house and B) you most enjoy.

So there you have it. 3 simple rules for matching timber furniture to your home décor: Colour, Accessories and Style.

Written by
Nathan Brown
Lifestyle Furniture

Australian made versus imported in timber furniture

One of the points to consider when purchasing timber furniture is ‘should I buy Australian made or imported?’ In this article I will conduct a comparison between buying Australiana made timber furniture and imported timber furniture.

First off when you buy Australian made timber furniture you support the local economy by keeping Australian companies in business. In turn local businesses can keep their staff employed, providing jobs for Australians. The money will also stay in Australia because the local manufacturers will buy their materials from Australian timber mills. Everyone in Australia wins by you buying Australian made timber furniture. When you buy imported furniture the local retailers still do business and employ Australians. The difference is the manufacturing is done overseas and so potential jobs for Australians are lost. Not only that, but part of the profits in the process of making end up in other countries. The good news is for consumers the price is often less expensive.

The hot topic in recent times is about climate change and so environmentally sustainable methods of manufacturing timber furniture have become an important consideration for many Australians. Australia’s Forest Management is eco-friendly and amongst the best in the world – Only 6% of Australia’s 147 million hectares of native forests is public forest potentially available for timber harvesting, only 1% of which is commercially harvested.
On writing this article China is shifting from harvesting forests to sustainably harvested timber plantations. However they also source their timber from other parts of the world which means there is no certainty that the timber furniture coming from China is sustainably harvested or not.

Australian manufacturers are known for their high standards of production across all industries. In furniture this is especially true as we have some of the best furniture craftsmen in the world. What this means is as consumers you will pay more for Australian made products, but receive superior quality for it.
Imported timber furniture, such as from China, is usually very good quality these days. And it’s less expensive too. For many people the bottom line is price and for this reason they end up buying imported timber furniture.

How many times have you gone to a furniture store and asked them if you can get an item in different sizes, to have them say there’s only one size available? Or only 2 sizes for say a TV unit? That’s because those timber furniture ranges are made overseas in places like China. While the quality might be very good you often don’t get flexibility in choosing your own size. Many local manufacturers of Australian made timber furniture offer the option of making to your particular size, colour, timber and/or finish. This flexibility more than offsets the higher cost by providing all the flexibility you need to get exactly the timber furniture you want.

The final comparison is order time frames. Most Australian manufacturers tend to be consistent with their order times so when you are told 8 weeks, it will probably be 8 weeks. Here in Australia it pays to provide reliable service and those manufacturers who do this for retailers by supplying on promised delivery times will do more business.
Generally speaking if furniture is ordered in from overseas there are more factors that can delay delivery. One of the most common delays is in shipping between countries, which can blow out the order timeframe as much as a month or more. In China the government can pull workers out of factories to build public infrastructure such as roads whenever they want, which disrupts the manufacturing of goods, including timber furniture.

So there you have it. Australian made timber furniture supports the local economy, keeps Australians in jobs, is environmentally friendly, is high quality, is flexible in size, colour and design, and is usually reliable in delivery time. On the other hand imported timber furniture supports the economies of other countries, can be environmentally friendly, is usually good quality, often less expensive, comes in limited size, colour and design options, and delivery can be delayed.

What would you choose…Australian made or imported timber furniture?

Written by
Nathan Brown
Lifestyle Furniture


Tips on Timber: Timber Joinery

Wood Joinery is merely the way in which two pieces of timber are joined together, and this also proves strength at the crucial points on construction of Furniture alone with glues used.

We will cover Wood Joinery commonly used in manufacturing solid timber furniture.

Timber Melbourne

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail joints have been used for centuries for building drawers, Chest, Boxes and other wooden projects. This method of joinery is exceptionally strong.

Mortise & Tenon

This type of joint is made up of two parts, the mortise (female) and the tenon (male).

custom furniture melbourne

Mortise & Tenon

The tenon on the end of one piece of timber is inserted into a cut out hole, cut into the joining timber. The tenon is cut to fit the mortise hole exactly. This joint may then be glued, pinned or wedged to lock into place.


Australian solid timber furniture

Biscuit Joint

Biscuit Joint

This is where a small biscuit is used to align two pieces of timber. For instance, a butt joint then this glued.

Butt Joint

Melbourne custom furniture

Butt Joint


This method of joinery is the most basic method of joinery, but accuracy is still required. A butt join is where one piece of timber is butted against another and glued. In some situations it may also be screwed or nailed.


Furniture Melbourne

Tongue & Groove

Tongue and Groove

This is where a groove is cut all along the edge and a thin deep ridge (The tongue) on the adjoining piece of timber.

Finger Joint

Solid Timber Specialists

Finger Joint


This is created by cutting a set of complimentary rectangular cuts in two pieces of timber which are then glued together (e.g. to visualise this, simply interlock the fingers of your hands together).


Timber Furniture in Melbourne

Mitre Joint

Mitre Joint

Similar to the butt joint, but bother pieces have been cut on a 45 degree angle.

Grove Joint

Furniture Melbourne Blog

Grove Joint


This is where a slot is cut with the grain in which this enables a piece of timber to slide into this.


Mark Mortelliti

Australian timbers used in furniture

There are many species of Australian timbers available that are ideal in the manufacturing of timber furniture. Each boasts unique characteristics and whatever your choice it will never be the wrong one. It’s just a matter of taste.

Jarrah (Eucalyptus Marginata)

Jarrah features a signature smooth grain with rich deep red to red-brown tone natural
timber colouration, which is found only in this Australian Hardwood Timber, often referred to as the magnificent Australian natural resource.

Furniture made from Australian Jarrah Hardwood Timber is always of exceptional character and when placed in the hands of an Australian craftsman furniture maker the results are spectacular, timeless heirlooms of the future.

Australian Jarrah Hardwood is grown in the far south west corner of Western Australia and is limited in supply, making it one of the more expensive of Australian Hardwoods.

Australian Jarrah Hardwood Timber Density is 820kg per cubic meter, placing it amongst the highest, hardest, and most durable of all Australian Hardwood Timbers.

Redgum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis)

Red Gum Hardwood Timber features deep, lustrous red wine hues with inter-twined grains that are characteristic of this world famous hardwood timber.
Australian Red Gum Hardwood Timber is amongst the strongest & most beautiful hardwoods in the world, a highly sought hardwood for Australian and International Furniture Manufacturers, very popular hardwood timber choice with our customers whatever age group, decor or usage requirements. It’s beautiful appearance commands attention, no need for colour stains on this one, its best left natural with a clear
finish, hand rub or natural oiling.

Australian Red Gum Hardwood Timber is very hard wearing, great for the active family with children, teenagers and lots of entertaining. The Australian Red Gum Tree is naturally resistant to termites and was used extensively by Early European Settlers. It is common to find trees well over 100 years old growing along the waterways of Victoria, primarily the Ovens, Goulburn and Murray rivers.

Australian Red Gum Hardwood Timber density is 900kg per cubic meter, making it the perfect Australian Hardwood Furniture Timber choice.

Victorian Ash (Eucalyptus Regnans)

Victorian Ash Hardwood Timber is characterised by its consistently straight grain and little or no gum veins. The natural colouring of this Australian Hardwood ranges
from pale pinks to red browns and pale straw.

Victorian Ash is also known as Mountain Ash, Alpine Ash and Tasmanian Oak. Victorian Ash Hardwood is the world’s tallest flowering plant, and right on our doorstep in abundance which makes it a popular choice for local furniture manufacturers and customers.

Victorian Ash Hardwood is grown throughout the mountain regions of Victoria, Tasmania and southern New South Wales, with an average wood density of 750kg per cubic meter, it’s a perfect timber for furniture manufacturing requirements, always resulting in a beautiful finished piece of quality furniture.

Messmate (Eucalyptus Obliqua)

Messmate Hardwood Timber has gum veins and natural characteristics not found in other hardwood timbers. The natural colour palette of brown to light-brown hues,
looks great finished in a clear hand rubbed bees wax, especially the Re-claimed Messmate Hardwood, allowing the up to 80 years of weathered ageing process, inherent timber character present itself in all it’s natural glory.

Unbelievable character and charm captured for life. New milled Messmate Hardwood Timber Furniture is often stained a darker colour to suit specific decor and architectural preferences. The variety of grain & texture make it ideal for families with active children & teenagers as the finished timber surface is more forgiving of bumps & scratches. The Australian Messmate Tree is grown widely across the south-east end of Australia, from South Australia, Southern Victoria, Tasmania & Eastern New South Wales. It’s most likely to grow in rain forests in coastal regions.

Australian Messmate Hardwood Timber Density is 830kg per cubic meter.

Blackwood (Acacia Melanoxylon)

Blackwood Hardwood Timber features a diverse, distinctive colour palette, ranging from reds and browns, orange and salmon pink, through to deep chocolate.
The Blackwood Tree is grown environmentally sustainably throughout Tasmania’s native forests and swamp areas. Australian Blackwood Hardwood Timber is highly regarded in the industry by specialist cabinet and furniture makers.
Staining is an option but Blackwood Hardwood Timber looks best finished in a clear oil, lacquer or varnish. Australian Blackwood Hardwood Timber has been used for furniture making in Tasmania & Main Land Australia since the 19th Century and continues to be a favourite choice amongst our customers.

Australian Blackwood Timber Density is 640 kg per cubic meter.

Marri (Corymbia Calophylla)

Marri Hardwood features a beautiful blend of nutmeg to honey colour tones running through a distinct display of gum veins and grain patterns that are unique to this
Australian home grown Hardwood. Its unique signature is the strong deep dark gum lines.

It’s a unique timber in real term rarely used so it stands out as something very different.

Marri Hardwood (Corymbia Calophylla), formerly known as Eucalyptus Calophylla, is native to the far south west region of Western Australia. It often grows amidst the Jarrah and Karri forests.

Marri Hardwood Timber has a durability of 850kg per cubic metre making it a favourite hardwood timber selection for craftsman furniture makers in Australia.


Written by
Nathan Brown
Lifestyle Furniture